We are still unschooling. There are so many families ending their summer and starting the new school year. Back-to-School. This sentiment hasn't resonated for us for the past few years. We don't identify with the social convention of the school year. We don't adhere to school hours. We don't subscribe to school requirements. We don't limit ourselves by school restrictions. We do not emulate school. School was prison. Now we are free. Freedom and creativity go so well together and we are thriving. We don't have an artificial start or end date for the day, month or year. We are curious, we are productive and we are creative 24/7/365. We are constantly learning and growing according to our own unique interests. By embracing unschooling, compartmentalizing our learning time has become irrelevant.
We reject most mainstream sentiment that places value on external measures which is rampant in the school system. In traditional educational environments there is so much emphasis on grades on testing as if that were a relevant way to observe whether learning has occurred and knowledge has been acquired. The only thing that testing proves is one's ability to prepare for a test and how skilled that person is at taking that test. Preparing for testing comes at the expense of all other areas of a child's life. Critical thinking, problem solving and immersive learning have no relevance when it comes to testing. For many children testing provides unnecessary stress and anxiety where the final outcome impacts the child's self-worth. What a shame that so many children have to waste their time enduring the immoderate burden of high stakes testing throughout so much of their young lives. Tests are irrelvant. Thinking, learning, creating and playing are important. The mainstream world may still rely on prescribed measures to demonstrate knowledge but for us, it has no relevance anymore.
I have come to devalue formal education.
We started this journey based on my oldest son's educational needs; however, radical unschooling serves us all well. I am formally educated with degrees and certificates and yet, I am far more well versed in the areas that I have engaged in learning independently than I am in any of the areas in which I am credentialed. Passion-led, self-directed learning is highly personal, meaningful and satisfying and, in my case, it has opened me up to new career opportunities. Our lifestyle allows for healthy psychological development, emotional security, creative expression and intellectual exploration. Stress and anxiety is minimal and true connection between every family member is nurtured.
Our days don't follow any pattern. There is no forced structure nor coercive learning. Rote memorization has no place in our lives and external metrics are treated with disdain. What my children engage in is entirely up to them and knowing how to think, learn and create is pervasive. There is no limit to our education and we are all enjoying the self-discovery ride. We are not back to anything. We are living, loving and learning every minute of the day.
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